Thursday, 15 April 2010

Final steps for the UK Digital Economy Bill

The UK House of Commons approved the Digital Economy Bill (DEB) on 7 April, upholding measures destined to fight online copyright piracy.

The DEB will enable internet service providers (ISPs) to monitor the use of individual internet connections, and extend the remit of Ofcom – the UK telecommunications regulator - to cover telecommunication content and infrastructure. One of the most controversial aspects of the DEB is the ability for ISPs to cut off the internet connection of most serious infringers without a court order. The British Phonographic Industry’s Chief Executive, Geoff Taylor, said that “removing unfair competition from clearly illegal websites will encourage investment in legal online services”. Many in the industry have spoken out against the DEB. According to the Pirate Party UK, “[it is] a major attack on free speech and human rights”. Andrew Heaney, Director of Strategy and Regulation at TalkTalk, added: “oppressive and futile deterrents are not the solution”. Parliament is expected to finalise the DEB in a few weeks, in time for the general election on 6 May 2010.

Michiel Willems - 2010 - Published earlier in E-Finance & Payments magazine